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Partnerships with community organizations offer graduate students greater opportunities

Missouri State expands Community Graduate Assistant program.

Connections and plugging people into the right spot – it’s a big part of the why behind efactory and what we want to do for the community and region.

We’ve been partnering with the Missouri State Graduate College to pilot a program that we’re now ready to expand – it’s the Community Graduate Assistant program.

Traditionally, graduate students could compete for highly-sought-after graduate assistantship positions on campus. These positions are coveted because they cover tuition and provide a stipend for a student who is earning an advanced degree.

However, the Graduate College recognized that there were so many amazing opportunities in the community that could give our graduate students relevant work experience and give the community a taste of the incredible talent that is brewing at MSU.

Together we worked to identify a few potential partners that could pilot this program. And now it’s expanding.

Read more below from Missouri State.

The beginning

In fall 2022, Missouri State University piloted the first ever community graduate assistantship.  

“We created an opportunity for businesses and graduate students to connect,” said Dr. Jerry Masterson, director of graduate interdisciplinary programs at MSU. 

Through the program, the university partners with businesses to bring them accomplished graduate students to work as graduate assistants (GAs).   

The program is a collaboration between MSU’s Graduate College and Division of Community and Global Partnerships. 

A mutually beneficial partnership 

The partnership helps bring innovative thinking and fresh talent to businesses.  

It also helps support the development of the next generation of leaders and grow the success of the community. 

“GAs use their expertise to help businesses and provide new perspectives,” Masterson said. “Businesses provide financial assistance and hands-on experience for the GAs.”  

In addition, the placement can provide an extended interview period to see if a GA may be a good fit for the business after graduation. 

MSU has partnered with nine businesses to date, including those in health care, research, manufacturing and more. After piloting the program successfully, the university now wants to include more employers. 

“The partnerships have gone really well so far,” Masterson said. “One of our GAs helped save a company several thousand dollars with her project management skills.” 

About the program

The university and the business collaborate to find a GA with the appropriate qualifications for the job. 

Host companies provide funding to cover the student’s tuition and a stipend. Placements can range from a few months to a few years.  

GAs are employees of Missouri State, rather than the business. The Graduate College works closely with the host business and the GA to ensure the partnership is a success.   

Businesses interested in hosting a GA may contact Masterson at